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Informing our stakeholders about the new Common Registration Assessment – 2021

At its Council meeting of 28 January 2020, the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society NI approved a Communications and Implementation Plan, agreed with our partners in the GPhC, to ensure a smooth change to a joint GPhC/Pharmaceutical Society NI Common Registration Assessment commencing in June 2021.

Speaking about the importance of ensuring a successful transition to the new Registration Assessment, Trevor Patterson, Chief Executive of the Pharmaceutical Society NI said:

“We have worked hard to ensure that the new Common Registration Assessment will be suitable for entrants from Northern Ireland.  The main change is to the format of the assessment rather than the learning content.  However, we recognise that change can come with uncertainty and we are determined to ensure that students, pre-registration tutors, training providers and other stakeholders clearly understand what to expect and can prepare accordingly.

“For this reason, we have been working with the GPhC to develop this Communications and Implementation Plan to cover all aspects of this project.  I am particularly grateful to our colleagues in the GPhC for the effort and time commitment they have given to this task.

“Some of our key activities are outlined below and I would encourage all interested parties to read the information provided and engage with the relevant activities when appropriate”.

Key Activities and Resources

Stakeholder Events

07 February 2020 – Meetings for Universities and 4th year MPharm Students

The GPhC and Pharmaceutical Society NI will be presenting to 4th year MPharm students and lecturers in both the Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast. The purpose of these sessions is to provide an overview of what the Common Registration Assessment will entail and answer any questions students and their lecturers may have.  Attendees will be able to hear first-hand from  Professor Andrew Husband, Chair of the current  Board of Assessors and representatives from the GPhC and Pharmaceutical Society NI education departments.

23 and 25 March 2020 – Tutors and Training Providers Information Events  

The GPhC and Pharmaceutical Society NI will be holding an information event for tutors and training providers firstly on 23 March and repeated on 25 March 2020 on a first-come first-served basis – there will be no charge to attend.  These events will provide an overview of the Common Registration Assessment and the Common Registration Assessment Framework and will provide an opportunity for tutors and training providers to ask questions on the new format of assessment.

You can find out more information on these events and register to attend here:

If there is sufficient demand, further information events for tutors and training providers will be arranged.


A series of online resources about the Common Registration Assessment Framework will be made available in due course. This will include Frequently Asked Questions and sample assessment questions.  To avoid any confusion to students sitting the current June 2020 Pharmaceutical Society NI Examination, it is envisaged that the resources will be available from July 2020 for students entering the 2020/2021 programme.

In the interim, those who would like to know more about the format of the current GPhC registration assessment may wish to review the current resources made available by the GPhC which relate to its registration assessment, upon which the Common Registration Assessment 2021 will be based.

Key dates and administration

All students joining the Pharmaceutical Society NI pre-registration programme attend compulsory induction events at which further information will be shared about the changes to the Assessment along with further details on applying to sit the Assessment with associated timings.  The dates and venues for the Common Registration Assessment in Northern Ireland, including re-sits, will also be published after June 2020.

A helpline will be made available to all pre-registration trainees in Northern Ireland regarding queries in relation to the Common Registration Assessment.

Recruitment of Northern Ireland member to the Board of Assessors

As part of the Partnership Agreement between the GPhC and the Pharmaceutical Society NI, the Board of Assessors, which sets and moderates the Registration Assessment, will become accountable to both organisations’ Councils.  A registrant Northern Ireland member will be appointed to the Board of Assessors.  This recruitment and appointment process will be advertised and completed in 2020.  We will publicise this opportunity when the recruitment process opens.